Just Right Television

by Grant P.

As a new season of television premiers kicks off, I am reminded of the insanely popular blogging topic: shows cancelled too soon. Even here at Bilbliofiles, we are guilty. It is fun to imagine what could have been and lament the horrible decisions of studio executives (or whoever is in charge of TV shows, I have no idea.) The opposite end of that spectrum is TV shows that were on far too long. My favorite comedy show ever, has been on for 30 years–there is just no need for that. The listgoesonandon.  Anyways, what about the shows in the just-right middle?  Shows that told their stories and got out?  At least two of these shows are in discussion for the Greatest Television Show of All Time, while some were actually cancelled (or always in danger of it), but I think additional seasons would have sullied what we had. Here, in my humble (?) opinion are some shows that got it just right.

Golden Girls – Golden Girls aired for seven seasons from 1985 until 1992.  During that run all three of the stars were awarded an Emmy for outstanding acting, which is probably something that has never happened before. I love this show because someone pitched a show about three older women living together with one of their mothers, and it got the greenlight. Then they went out and made a huge hit, that is one of the most iconic TV shows of that generation.

Breaking Bad – Aired for five seasons from 2008 to 2013. Show creator Vince Gilligan famously wanted to create a show where the shows protagonist turns into the antagonist (I would say spoiler, but it says it right in the title.) Bryan Cranston stars as Walt, a high school chemistry teacher who gets diagnosed with lung cancer. So, he turns to producing methamphetamine as a way to set his family up for after he dies (I believe this was the original plot of It’s a Wonderful Life). Through the five amazing seasons, we witness Walt’s descent.

Parks & Recreation – Aired for seven seasons from 2009 until 2015. Leslie Knope remains the gold standard for bosses (and pretty much for human beings in general). The comedy about the goings on of a Parks and Recreation department in the fictional small town of Pawnee, Indiana, should never have worked, but due to an amazing supporting cast, and wonderful writing, it did. I love this show for many reasons, but the biggest is that it is at it’s core, decent and kind, things that rarely exist in comedies.

The Wire – The greatest television series aired for 5 seasons from 2002 until 2008. The Wire, while focused on the drug trade in Baltimore also explored, public education, politics, and the press. While this show deals with weighty issues and is at times a tough watch, it is also finds a way to bring in humor when things are at their bleakest. I am forever haunted by the line “Where’s Wallace.”

Pushing Daisies – Aired for two seasons from 2007 until 2009. It only aired for 22 episodes and often appears on cancelled too soon lists (sorry Michelle). But, this quirky show about a pie maker who can bring people back to life by touching them (seriously) and thus starts investigating murders, is perfect as it was. Sometimes, just a little is the right amount.


Any perfectly right TV shows?



7 responses to “Just Right Television”

  1. Kim says:

    Corner Gas, 2004-2009, was just right.

  2. Isaac says:

    30 Rock (2006 – 2013) was just about right. That said, it could only have been better with a ‘Queen of Jordan’ spin off. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996 – 2003) and Angel (1999 – 2004) were also just right, though each received really good ongoing comic continuations by the showrunner.

  3. Peter says:

    The Americans (2013-2018) maintained a high quality for its six seasons. To me the series revolved around the question of ‘do the ends justify the means?’, particularly in regard to higher ideals. It reminded me of The Wire in that everyone existed in a grey zone of morality.

  4. Emily Z says:

    I would argue M.A.S.H. ended at a good point, although I was surprised to learn later that the actual Korean conflict did not last 11 years.

  5. Rickey says:

    I have said this for years about the Golden Girls, and I am so happy that others feel the same! However, I have probably re-watched the entire series, from beginning to end, more times that I should have.

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